The global talent shortage brought on by the pandemic currently stands at a 16-year high—and it’s showing no signs of abating quickly. Shifting demographics, a rise in early retirement and shrinking birth rates means it’s harder than ever to find the perfect person for the job. Nearly 75% of employers are struggling to fill open positions, but some fields have a bit of an advantage over others. A recent survey by Manpower looked at the state of the labor market and what lies ahead.
Speaking with 40,000 employers worldwide, Manpower found that, in the U.S., it is jobs with technology skills that are having the biggest problems attracting talent. Some 31% of companies with openings in that space are having trouble filling the roles. We could be rounding the corner, though. Employers report their most optimistic hiring intentions in more than 21 years, says Manpower. And certain fields are more optimistic than the rest.
The Manpower survey identified five fields that were the most in demand globally:
- IT and data
- Sales and marketing
- Operations and logistics
- Manufacturing and production
- Customer-facing and front office
In the U.S., technology skills are what employers are looking for, with 31% of employers reporting difficulty in filling those roles. Large companies (with 250 or more employees) reported the strongest hiring intentions.
The hardest jobs to fill are those that generally lack the high salaries that come with tech jobs: Education, Health, Social Work, Government, Information Technology, Telecoms, Communications and Media, Banking, Finance, Insurance and Real Estate.
“While it’s encouraging to see employers have the intention to hire workers, it’s been increasingly difficult for them to find the talent they need,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup Chairman and CEO. “On top of the skills gap challenge, employers are dealing with wage inflation and competition for workers, as many are switching industries altogether to better suit their lifestyle.”
Beyond the almost-always-in-demand tech skills, employers are looking for a series of soft skills among workers, as well. Among employers, 28% say they’re experiencing difficulties finding applicants who display accountability and self-discipline, qualities that are increasingly important as remote work becomes the norm for many businesses.
The chief soft skills in demand, per Manpower, are:
- Reliability and self-discipline
- Resilience and adaptability
- Reasoning and problem-solving
- Creativity and originality
- Critical thinking and analysis.
While the global workforce begins to recover from the pandemic, it’s doing so in uncharted territory. Demand for skills is at record levels, but market recovery varies greatly from country to country, magnifying supply chain and health issues.
There’s good news, though, for companies that are looking to fill openings. Of the 40 countries that were surveyed by Manpower. 28 say they have improved their hiring outlooks in the past quarter. Year over year, hiring outlooks have improved in 36 of those markets. The survey predicts a 33% improvement in global net employment in the third quarter.
Not all areas of the world are the same, though. The strongest hiring prospects, it said, were in Mexico, Brazil, and India. Greece, Taiwan and Japan were the weakest.
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